Real girls in their own place.
Not too crazy and just a pinch of naughty...
AN EXCLUSIVE MIMP INTERVIEW WITH NATASHA KMETO
With her long dark hair and eyes that gaze from the depths of her delightfully free mind, Natasha is enchanting. I dare you to listen to “Pleasure Delay” off her new EP “Dirty Mind Melt”and not have your own dirty mind melt a little. Natasha is gifted with immense capacities as an electronic producer paired with a soulful voice that conjures visions of jazz singers in speakeasies wearing black cocktail dresses and pearls, although this girl is more comfortable in her underwear.
The Portland-based singer has been in the music scene since her youth, yet over the past three years she finally found her niche as a solo artist. Her latest EP “Dirty Mind Melt” is out now via Dropping Gems, and she has a full-length album coming out this Spring.
For more insight into Natasha’s world watch the voyeuristic video for the title track “Dirty Mind Melt” below. If you want to catch Natasha live, there’s a list of tour dates on her website. I had the opportunity to speak with Natasha about her music, a quarter-life crisis, and finally finding pleasure.
Hey Natasha, thanks for speaking with me, been looking forward to chatting with you.
Thanks for the opportunity.
So I assume you’ve poked around on MIMP? What’d you think?
I especially loved the artist interviews. I think it’s cool, I love the concept of capturing people in their own environments. I’m really excited to be a part of it.
So have you always been involved in music, or when did that start?
My parents are musicians. They started me on guitar and piano pretty young. Then I started taking vocal lessons when I was 14. My parents have a cover band that I joined, which is when I first started performing as a singer. It was a jazz standards cover band, we’d go and play the swanky jazz clubs. In high school I always wanted to pursue music as a career, but I feel in our culture that’s not a realistic thing. And I was always a bit of an intellectual, I got good grades so I figured I’d be a journalist. Then when I finished high school I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do so I went to community college rather than a four year, and ended up dropping out because I joined a band, or rather two bands. I eventually went to music school, and finally decided I guess I’m going to try to do this.
My solo project, which I’ve been working on for about three years now, is the first thing that has stuck.
Tell me about your new EP “Dirty Mind Melt.”
It’s off of Dropping Gems, a label here in Portland, and I’m really excited about it. It’s getting good reviews so far, and I’m really excited about the music video we did for the single and we’re ramping up to the full-length release coming out in late May or early June.
What can we expect in the full-length compared to the EP?
I think it definitely shows a development, the full-length is going to be a lot more vocal centric and texture wise a lot softer sounding. The EP is more of the aggressive dance floor stuff that I’ve been putting out. The new stuff still has an edge to it, but is a little more feminine.
What was the inspiration behind the EP and the upcoming full-length? There’s some sexy stuff on there…
Yeah…haha. I guess without getting too personal, I’ve had a very tumultuous year. I’ve gone through some huge changes in my life but it’s been awesome. Are you familiar with the concept of the Saturn return?
No, tell me about it.
It’s this thing that all my hippy-dippy friends have been telling me about, that when you hit your late 20’s, Saturn returns to the position when you were born, and so a lot of people have what you could call a quarter life crisis. They think “Ah, everything I’m doing in my life is wrong, and I’m going to do a complete 180!” And that kind of happened for me. So I had my Saturn return this past year and the EP is sort of the start of that, and then the full-length I just completely fell in love. And that’s what that’s about.
Fell in love, as in with another person?
Do you feel comfortable telling me about that?
Ah, not really, not at the moment. I need to figure out how much about my relationship I’m comfortable sharing.
I feel you on that, I write about sex, and am always trying to find the balance between respecting my relationships’s privacy and wanting to express myself.
Back to the video for “Dirty Mind Melt,” it reminded me a lot of Me In My Place because it’s so voyeuristic. Will you talk about the creative process that went into the making of the video?
Well the track is about being haunted by an unrequited love interest. I found myself spinning in my own mind about it, and then spoke with the director, Miko Revereza, who was very influenced by a lot of 60’s stuff. And I gave him an idea that was kind of supposed to be an obsessive sort of feeling thing, kind of cyclical, like you’re trapped in your own mind. So we came up with the concept of the narrative of four different women in the same spot, dealing with the same situation and then splicing that together in a creepy dream sequence.
We were able to actually shoot it on Super 8, a very different process than shooting on digital. I just did a listening party for my EP release here and we got to see it big and it looks great, the analog approach is very much appreciated on a larger scale.
Now those four different women in the video are actually all you, in costume, correct?
Yeah, all me. Me in costumes and wigs, we had a lot of fun.
Of all those four women you play in the video, which one is the real Natasha, most representative of you on a day to day basis?
Probably the one when I’m in my undies. Getting cute, getting dressed up can be fun, but honestly I’m a more low-key person, so when I’m in my place I’m usually wearing whatever is most comfortable.
Was the video filmed in your real apartment?
Yeah! We looked for a hotel in Portland that had a 60’s kitschy vibe and just couldn’t find anything that didn’t look trashy so we spent the day before going around and picking up different set items that we could dress up my apartment with, which is usually pretty neutral. So we basically built a set in my apartment.
Sans music video set, what is your apartment usually like?
It’s pretty much everything I need it to be. It’s tiny; it has my studio, my bed, my bathroom and a kitchen basically. There’s art around, and a lot of music, but it’s very functional, and actually pretty spartan. When I’m not working or not sleeping I’m not there a lot because I like to go out, I like to be social. But it’s my home, for sure.
And where can you be found when you’re out of your apartment?
I like to go to shows. I like to dance. I like to eat. I like to drink. I just like to be out and about experiencing things.
Any particularly fun experience you’ve had lately you’d like to share?
I went out to see some friends play at a club and then ended up at some random warehouse and danced until about five in the morning. I had just gotten off the road from touring, then had my rest, and I can get a bit stir crazy, so I went out and it was a celebration of sorts. That’s probably the most fun experience I’ve had lately.
What’s touring like for you, is it an experience you enjoy, life on the road?
I love touring. It obviously can vary city to city and tour to tour, the last one I went on there was a lot of flying on planes and I think I prefer being in a car. If I had my way….in my life I’d be traveling as much as possible right now. I actually get to see three new states in the next month which I’m really excited about. I’m going to Austin, Texas for the first time for South by Southwest, performing in Idaho, and then I’m playing in Miami as well.
I’m not playing any official SXSW showcases, but I’m playing five off-set festival showcases which are supposed to be pretty amazing to do.
Tell me about my favorite song off the EP, “Pleasure Delay.” That’s one provocative track. What’s the story behind it?
Haha, I love that song. I always start my sets with that song, it’s very attention grabbing. Let’s just say there was a point in my life where I wasn’t getting what I wanted.
Are you getting what you want now?
Haha yes, yes I am.
Well, I’m very happy for you. Thanks Natasha.